Vasara is a vertically scrolling manic shooter released in 2000 by Japanese company Visco Corporation. The game is known for its unusual setting (a science-fantasy take on the Sengoku period) and its game play as a curtain fire game.
The game takes place in an alternate historical version of the year 1600, following the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the subsequent attempt by the robotic samurai armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu to take control of the nation. The player controls one of three color-coded warriors riding hoverbikes, each with the typical tradeoffs of speed and firepower:
- Saiga Magoichi (said to be the granddaughter of the historical Saiga Magoichi), dressed in yellow and riding a hoverbike roughly shaped like Suzaku. Quick but weak, she throws homing fans and has a 360-degree fan swing for a charged attack
- Sanada Yukimura, dressed in red and riding a hoverbike shaped like a horse. The middle character, his speed and firepower fall in the average between the other two. He throws homing kunai and has a katana strike for his charged attack
- Shima Sakon, dressed in blue and riding a heavy hoverbike shaped like a horse; the Japanese version of the game refers to it as the "Matsukaze 1000". The slow-but-heavy firepower character, he attacks with throwing spears and a heavy spear charge attack.
All three have access to a bomb which will temporarily clear the screen of enemies and enemy fire.
Each character starts off on their own individual level, proceeding through six stages of enemies, firing upon opponents while weaving through increasing curtains of enemy fire. On occasion, the player will encounter a miniboss and eventually a stage boss.
As this is a "bullet hell" game, the player has a small hitbox (essentially the character on the hoverbike), with points scored for scraping past enemy fire. Physical collision with an enemy unit will not result in destruction and loss of life, but will cause the player's ship to bounce off the enemy; however, this may also leave the player open to a barrage of enemy fire.
In addition to the above, scoring is done by grabbing the various gold ingots left in the wreckage of enemy craft. Other ways to score include multiple kills via the charge attack. Finally, the game has a "prestige kill" system, where the player is essentially challenged to a duel by an enemy character. Upon defeat of the enemy, a blood-spattered name plate is collected, and at the end of the stage, these name plates are counted for extra points.
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